Philo, Moses 1 and 2

LCL 289: 276-277

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[80] 1I. Μωυσέως τοῦ κατὰ μέν τινας νομοθέτου τῶν Ἰουδαίων, κατὰ δέ τινας ἑρμηνέως νόμων ἱερῶν, τὸν βίον ἀναγράψαι διενοήθην, ἀνδρὸς τὰ πάντα μεγίστου καὶ τελειοτάτου, καὶ γνώριμον τοῖς ἀξίοις 2μὴ ἀγνοεῖν αὐτὸν ἀποφῆναι. τῶν μὲν γὰρ νόμων τὸ κλέος, οὓς ἀπολέλοιπε, διὰ πάσης τῆς οἰκουμένης πεφοιτηκὸς ἄχρι καὶ τῶν τῆς γῆς τερμάτων ἔφθακεν, αὐτὸν δὲ ὅστις ἦν ἐπ᾿ ἀληθείας ἴσασιν οὐ πολλοί, διὰ φθόνον ἴσως καὶ ἐν οὐκ ὀλίγοις τῶν διατεταγμένων ὑπὸ τῶν κατὰ πόλεις νομοθετῶν ἐναντίωσιν οὐκ ἐθελησάντων αὐτὸν μνήμης ἀξιῶσαι τῶν 3παρ᾿ Ἕλλησι λογίων· ὧν οἱ πλείους τὰς δυνάμεις ἃς ἔσχον διὰ παιδείας ὕβρισαν ἔν τε ποιήμασι καὶ [81]τοῖς καταλογάδην | συγγράμμασι κωμῳδίας καὶ συβαριτικὰς ἀσελγείας συνθέντες, περιβόητον αἰσχύνην, οὓς ἔδει ταῖς φύσεσι καταχρήσασθαι πρὸς τὴν τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀνδρῶν τε καὶ βίων ὑφήγησιν, ἵνα μήτε τι καλὸν ἡσυχίᾳ παραδοθὲν ἀρχαῖον ἢ νέον ἀφανισθῇ λάμψαι δυνάμενον μήτ᾿ αὖ τὰς ἀμείνους ὑποθέσεις παρελθόντες τὰς ἀναξίους ἀκοῆς προκρῖναι δοκῶσι σπουδάζοντες τὰ κακὰ καλῶς ἀπαγγέλλειν 4εἰς ὀνειδῶν ἐπιφάνειαν. ἀλλ᾿ ἔγωγε τὴν


Moses I

On the Life of Moses, Book I

I. I purpose to write the life of Moses, whom some1 describe as the legislator of the Jews, others as the interpreter of the Holy Laws. I hope to bring the story of this greatest and most perfect of men to the knowledge of such as deserve not to remain in ignorance of it; for, while the fame of the laws2 which he left behind him has travelled throughout the civilized world and reached the ends of the earth, the man himself as he really was is known to few. Greek men of letters have refused to treat him as worthy of memory, possibly through envy, and also because in many cases the ordinances of the legislators of the different states are opposed to his. Most3 of these authors have abused the powers which education gave them, by composing in verse or prose comedies and pieces of voluptuous licence, to their widespread disgrace, when they should have used their natural gifts to the full on the lessons taught by good men and their lives. In this way they might have ensured that nothing of excellence, old or new, should be consigned to oblivion and to the extinction of the light which it could give, and also save themselves from seeming to neglect the better themes and prefer others unworthy of attention, in which all their efforts to express bad matter in good language served to confer distinction on shameful

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philo_judaeus-moses_i_ii.1935